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History of rodeo

Rodeo began on the ranches of the wild west in America.  Working cowboys would have informal competitions to decide the most skilled riders and ropers.  These local gatherings became so popular that they moved to towns, events were standardised and rules were established — the sport of rodeo was born!

In Australia, the birth of rodeo followed a similar path.  Men in the bush would meet and test their horsemanship skills and horses in competitions.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, there were travelling rodeo tents like Skulthorpes in which competitors and spectators could try their luck in the ring.  In northern NSW, Bushmen’s Carnivals originated around the same era.  The tradition of the carnivals donating proceeds  to local charities came about following World War II.  Interest in rodeo competitions continued to gain popularity and is now well established in this country.

History of ABCRA

The Northern Bushmen’s Carnival Association was formed at the Imperial Hotel in Maitland, NSW on 28th March 1946 with the purpose of coordinating and assisting carnivals who were affiliated with the group.  When affiliation grew wider than NSW, the name was changed to The Australian Bushmen’s Carnival Association.  By 1985 the association had grown to the point where there was a need for a change in both administration and name.  The association became a company limited by guarantee and the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA).

The ABCRA is the largest Rodeo and Campdraft organization in Australia, with over 4,800 members and many more ‘day competitors’. There are around 200 affiliate committees all over the country and events are held throughout the year.  The ABCRA affiliates the sports of Campdrafting, roughriding (saddlebronc, bareback, bull and steer riding) and timed rodeo events (steer wrestling, rope & tie, barrel race (ladies), steer undecorating (ladies), team roping, breakaway roping (ladies) and junior barrel race.  The ABCRA conducts a point scoring system in which the points from all affiliated committees are sent to head office.  From this recording system, National High Points Standings are calculated and National Champions awarded.


The city folks think that it’s over
The cowboy has outlived his time.
An old worn out relic, a thing of the past
But the truth is he’s still in his prime.

The cowboy’s the image of freedom
The hard ridin’ boss of the range
His trade is a fair one, he fights for what’s right.
And his ethics aren’t subject to change.

He still tips his hats to the ladies
Lets you water first at the pond.
He believes a day’s work is worth a day’s pay
And his handshake and word is his bond.

Red Steagall